On April 28th, the intimate basement-level theater of NYC’s Rubin Museum was packed to the rafters with brand marketers, PR gurus, digital mavens, social media experts, philanthropists, a documentary filmmaker, and a representative of Hollywood royalty. Not quite a networking event, not quite a gala—something else entirely.
The purpose of the occasion was three-fold: the unofficial public unveiling of ONE HUNDRED, a screening of Waiting for Mamu, and a panel discussion afterward, featuring Dominik Prinz (Partner, ONE HUNDRED), Dianne Wilkins (Partner, ONE HUNDRED), Thomas A. Morgan (Filmmaker, Waiting for Mamu), and Susan Sarandon (Actress and Humanitarian).
The event was marvellous and captivated everyone by turns sombre and joyful.
The discussion, led by ONE HUNDRED partner Isabella Rodrigues, was both scintillating and moving. Dominik Prinz and Dianne Wilkins spoke of the power and purpose of ONE HUNDRED. Thomas Morgan explained how he discovered the subject of Waiting for Mamu—i.e. Pushpa Basnet, the 2012 CNN “Hero of the Year” and founder of Butterfly Home. (Butterfly Home is an orphanage located in Kathmandu that houses Napelese children unjustly incarcerated alongside their parents. Morgan spoke Pushpa’s struggles, humor, passion, scrappiness, brilliance. And like his film, he impressed the need for donor support.)
Susan Sarandon, a friend of Morgan and champion of humanitarian causes the world over, brought far more than star power. Substance, sincerity and honesty clung to her every word the entire evening, which led to a light-hearted exchange that captured the message of the night. “It’s such a unique talent you have,” she said, referring the behind-the-scenes branding and digital launch of the Butterfly Home site.
Dianne Wilkins, also known for speaking sincerely and honestly or not at all, replied, “most of us on this stage would agree that you have talents we don’t have.”
Undaunted by the gales of laughter, Sarandon admitted, “Well, I don’t even know what a brand is, but I know it works.”
With that, the theme of the night crystallized: coalitions and partnerships are crucial. Good intentions and the incipient desire to make an impact require the meeting place of special and diverse talent. Morgan’s film tells a story, induces tears, and haunts its audience well after it concludes, but marketers can rally together to raise awareness, boost fundraising and create captivating digital contexts for stories that inspire people. That’s the shared belief of the six agencies that make up ONE HUNDRED—a belief derived from the work they do for their combined 265 nonprofit clients.
More broadly, seemingly intractable humanitarian problems attract passionate people and nonprofit organizations who devote their talents to making an impact, but they often need partners with sophisticated capabilities and united by a single agenda. That, too, was the evening’s subtext.
In retrospect, the evening demonstrated in a span of seconds one of ONE HUNDRED’s core beliefs: both the world and the infinitely complex nonprofit sector need coalitions of people who can stand in awe of each other’s abilities for a moment, and then roll up their sleeves and get to work in the name global change the next.